British High Court Overturns Decision Barring Julian Assange Extradition
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British High Court Overturns Decision Barring Julian Assange Extradition

A British appellate court Friday overturned a lower court decision that barred Wikileaks founder Julian Assange from being extradited to the United States.  In July 2020, the United States requested the extradition of Mr. Assange based on charges of illegally receiving and publishing classified information.

Mr. Assange claims his extradition is barred by the Extradition Act of 2003 because of his mental health condition.  The act bars extradition if the person’s physical or psychological condition is such that it would be unjust or oppressive to extradite them.  The US has made a number of assurances in response to this claim.

A district judge found these assurances inadequate and ruled that Mr. Assange would likely face oppressive conditions if extradited.  The US subsequently appealed.

The British High Court found that such assurances between countries, in the context of extradition proceedings, constitute solemn promises carefully considered by the promising state.  The court overturned the district judge’s decision and concluded that it would be inappropriate to measure such assurances on a hypothetical basis.  Mr. Assange could be extradited to the United States following this ruling.